Horses For Courses

Over the past week all the joyous forms of social media have been rife with jokes, gags and criticism regarding the Horsegate scandal.  For those of you that live under a rock, the denizens of Great Britain and Ireland have been thoroughly disgusted to discover that a number of supermarkets (the most notable being Tesco) have been selling beefburgers containing horsemeat.  The sense of outrage has been generated by one of three things: incorrect labelling, animal rights, or possibly the fact that our Gaelic cousins do it, so it must be wrong.  Strangely, the sense of outrage hasn’t been caused by the one fact that is the most outrageous about the whole affair.  In fact it has been largely overlooked.

Ever since the invention of advertising and marketing, labels have become largely worthless.  Although the days of adverts supporting smoking are long gone,smoking the concept of not telling the truth hasn’t.  This is why McDonalds adverts never feature fat children that get out of breath whilst standing in line, or why Coca-Cola doesn’t feature people with no teeth or Bell Whisky show homeless people abusing themselves at bus stops.  The very concept of truth-telling in business is absurd as so many things are terribly unhealthy for us.  There is more chance of the tooth fairy existing.

Many newspapers have put forward the argument that people in Britain and Ireland do not eat horse because a horse is widely regarded as a companion animal.  Obviously the vast majority of those that keep horses for companions  have two surnames, live in mansions and have a tennis court and a swimming pool.  Strangely I have never met anyone who kept a horse as a pet.  They simply aren’t that much fun to cuddle up with on the sofa, and well when you forget to walk them they do make an awful mess on the carpet.  If we are honest to ourselves we know deep down that horses aren’t companion animals no more than the person you happen to go jogging with is your best friend.

Perhaps it is moral outrage.  Would you be outraged to discover that you had eaten horse and not known it?  Not really because you didn’t know about it.  It’s like being angry about the second world war.  You have missed the bus.  It is in the past.  You have eaten, digested and shat it out by now.  Most amusingly, the people who appear to be the most outraged are those people reading articles by newspapers that may or may not have hacked the telephones of dead people, on their tablets or telephones that were manufactured by Chinese slaves, as they read they tut aloud and tap their feet in anger.  The feet in question are adorned with american sports shoes which were made by Africans being paid less the a pound a month.  Moral outrage, in an age where it’s impossible to have clean hands is nothing more than mere hypocrisy.

The other aspect which is quite bizarre is what exactly people are outraged about.  ‘Oh my god, I’ve eaten a meat which is completely legal and doesn’t harm my health!’.  You would think that the morally outraged would be outraged at the fact that people are outraged that they have food to eat when millions of people on this planet do not.  Horse is eaten in France, Italy, Asia and South America.  It is not a rare and unusual source of sustenance.

Let’s briefly recap.  A number of people in Britain are outraged because they unknowingly ate horse.  Eating horse is not dangerous to a person’s health.  It is not a crime.  Nor is it a sin.  In fact there are no reasons why a citizen of Britain cannot eat a horse.  Let’s be honest it’s not like it’s against our religion.  Now that would be outrageous.  Imagine if they had put pork in the beefburgers.  Could you imagine the reaction of the 1.54 million Muslims and an estimated 250,000 Jews that live in Britain?  The small print you don’t see in most of the news stories is that pork was also found in the beefburgers.  It’s impossible to estimate the number of people who may or may not have broken their own religious vows because a number of businesses were trying to increase their profit margins.  Isn’t that outrageous?  Isn’t that something the morally outraged should be outraged about?  I guess not.

Horsegate is yet another example which highlights how far wrong our way of life now is.  The idea of moral authority should be buried in a casket named the 20th century.  We should be reactionary about things which matter now, not what may have mattered ten years ago.  Essentially, this scandal could safely be reflected under a ‘corrupt company blames another corrupt company for doing something unpopular’ headline.  As irrespective of punishment, this will never change.  Businesses will always seek out ways to cut costs and increase profits.  In the meantime it takes valuable attention away from issues which really matter.  And that ladies and gentleman is the biggest shame of all.

Celebrity Arseholes And The Sebald Islands

The greatest threat to the human race is and always has been stupidity.  In the 21st century the stupidity bug appears to have mutated with celebritism and created a new super powered celebrity arsehole.  The symptoms of celebrity arseholism are as follows:  over rating your own talents, travelling to other countries where you are more popular than your own, and last but not least, saying cuntish things.

Recently intellectual luminaries such as Sean Penn, Roger Waters and Morrissey have all seen fit to have their say on the Falkland Islands/Los Malvinos/Sebald Islands without having any credentials or expertise or knowledge on the subject.  Seeing as the debate appears to be open to anyone, and that the only relevant qualification appears to be that you must be a giant arsehole, I feel it’s only appropriate for me to join the party.

When trying to ascertain the ancestry of the people of the Islands a good starting is always a census survey.  The most recent I found on the internet is from 2006.  Suffice to say I was stunned when I got to the bottom of page 8.  I expected to see a large number of islanders with Argentinian ancestry.  The next page(table 14b) shows the population by ancestry(other).  Now despite not having a celebrity superpowers I am fathoming a guess that it refers to the number of people who consider their ancestry to be mixed.  In total 17 of the 2955 Falkland Islanders consider themselves to be Argentinian to some degree.  To put it into context, it is less than 1 percent of the entire population.  Maybe the answer is to be found in the history of the island?

A less than intelligent human being would, rather than waste any of his precious superstar studded time on research, make idle speculations based on the few memories they retain about the history of Britain at the back of their super minds.  Therefore it would be really very easy to conclude that Spain had probably colonised Los Malvinos and then the British invaded, stole it and plundered it.  I applaud such a line of thought as that is exactly what Britain did mostly.  Except when it didn’t.

The Falkland Islands were first sighted in 1600 by the Dutch explorer Sebald de Weert who subsequently named the islands the Sebald Islands.  Not very imaginative I know, but absolutely true nonetheless.  If the world was ruled by five-year old boys and the finders keepers rule was applied the Islands would be Dutch and none of this mess would have ever happened.  In 1690 the first Brit sailed between the two main islands and named the passageway, the Falkland Channel.  That man was Captain John Strong.  Still there was no problem, as no one tried to settle there.  Trust the French to ruin everything.  In 1764 Louis Antoine de Bougainville founded a settlement in what is now Port Louis, East Falkland.  And this is where things become a little complicated, so complicated that I shall continue in bullet points.  For the record lets recap first nation to see it – the Netherlands, first country to move in – France.  

  • 1765 – British Captain John Byron explored and claimed Saunders Island.  Apparently unaware of the French presence, he laid claim to all of the archipelago in the name of King George III.
  • 1766 – Britain built its first settlement in Port Egmont.
  • 1767 – Spain acquired the French colony and placed it under the control of the Buenos Aires colonial administration.
  • 1770 – Spain attacked Port Egmont and expelled the British presence.  Later that year a peace treaty was signed, and the British returned.
  • 1774 – Great Britain withdrew from the islands as part of a mass of withdrawals caused by economic problems.  Insanely they left behind a plaque laying claims to the island.
  • 1806 – Spain withdrew its governor, leaving behind a bigger plaque in his place.
  • 1811 – the United Provinces of the River Plate(which later became Argentina) withdrew the remaining settlers.

As you can see the end of the 18th century was quite a turbulent time for the attempted settlers for the Sebald Islands.  Incredibly it wasn’t until 1820 when the Argentinians properly entered the stage.  All because of an American named David Jewett.  His boat the Heroina was damaged in a storm and he took shelter on the islands.  While he was there he claimed the islands in the name of the United Provinces of the River Plate.  Did he stick around?  No.

It wasn’t until 1828 when Luis Vernet established a settlement, after first getting permission from both the British and Argentine authorities, that the first Argentines settled on the Falkland Islands.  Some 64 years after the first settlement had been built.  Unfortunately for Vernet his settlement was destroyed in 1831 when the Islands were raided by the USS Lexington, after a dispute over hunting and fishing rights with the US Government spiralled into a conflict.  In 1832 Argentina sent Commander Mestivier to found a penal colony on the island.  His efforts lasted a whooping 4 days before he was killed in a mutiny.  In January 1833 the British forces returned and requested that the Argentinian garrison leave, to which they did somewhat reluctantly.  In 1840 the British government decided to establish a permanent colony on the Falkland Islands.

Let’s take a moment to consider Argentina’s claim to the island.  They were 56 years too late.  They occupied the island for 5 years.  They did not discover it.  They were not the first to settle on it.  Or the second.  In fact the first Argentinian to claim it was an American.  They settled on the islands after seeking British permission.  They loved the island so much that they tried to turn it into a prison.  All in all in my non-celebrity arsehole opinion they have a magnificent case for ownership.  So strong in fact that I can’t understand why they didn’t take their case to the United Nations.  In 1947 the United Kingdom offered to submit the case to the International Court of Justice at the Hague.  Argentina refused.  In 1955 a unilateral application to the court, by the United Kingdom failed after Argentina announced that it would not respect the decision of the court.

On Friday the 2nd of April 1982 the Argentinian Army invaded the Falkland Islands on the orders Leopoldo Galtieri, the last of Argentina’s military dictators.  907 lives and 74 days later the Argentinian army surrendered.  Which brings us all the way to 2012.  The newspapers are full of talk about British acts of aggression which include sending a destroyer and a submarine and most threatening of all, Prince William to the region.  In Argentina the President has arranged a ban of Falklands flagged boats landing in South America.  As the sabre rattling continues, one has to ask why is it starting again?  As a human being I hope that humanity learns from war, rather than repeating the same mistake again.  Could it be a purely territorial dispute?  Or could it be something even more sinister?

My neighbour has a lovely house in the country.  I don’t.  I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that the government are planning to build a motorway exactly where his house is (to see more about the motorway – click on the link beneath *).  The value of his land is going to skyrocket.  I went there for 5 days a few years back.  I have told him that I think I should now have the house, after all it’s much closer to where I live.  He says that is absurd, some of his family live there, and I don’t even speak the same language.  Last year I went there and kicked his family out.  I was planning to live there forever.  However he called the authorities.  They came and removed me.  He doesn’t speak to me now.  He says I am in the wrong.  I know I am not though.  As Bono agrees with me.

*Click here to read an article about the motorway